Seeing anyone but Mason Crosby at kicker is a strange and unnerving thought for Packers fans. Crosby has never missed a game as he enters his 17th season with the Packers. Crosby started training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List due to a scope procedure on his right knee. It was not expected to be a long term issue, as stated by Crosby himself:
#Packers veteran PK Mason Crosby, on the PUP, says he had "a minor scope" after experiencing pain in his right knee during OTA's. Called it "just an oil change. The goal is to be ready by Week 1."
— Mike Clemens (@MikeClemensNFL) July 27, 2022
However, as the Packers enter the final week of preseason, they brought in four kickers for workouts on Monday:
Green Bay Packers working out Cameron Dicker, Chandler Staton, Matt Ammendola and Parker White, per a league source.
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 22, 2022
Monday’s workouts are in addition to two kickers not named Mason Crosby who have handled duties throughout the preseason. Gabe Brkic kicked in the first preseason game against San Francisco, converting all 3 extra point attempts, but badly missing his only field goal attempt, as eloquently stated by The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman:
Gabe Brkic’s 32-yard field goal misses left by about 32 yards.
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) August 13, 2022
The following week, Green Bay brought in Nevada product Ramiz Ahmed to kick against New Orleans Friday night. Ahmed delivered on all four of his attempts (2 extra points and 2 field goals), with a long of 45 yards. Despite the solid performance from Ahmed, Brian Gutekunst wasn’t done evaluating. Crosby, meanwhile, has done “some kicking” but is unlikely to be activated before the preseason finale this Thursday:
Matt LaFleur says Mason Crosby has done "some kicking," but he doesn't anticipate Crosby being activated off PUP before Kansas City. The good news? Crosby, entering his 17th season, is the definition of a veteran who doesn't need preseason reps. #Packers know him fairly well.
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) August 21, 2022
What Does This All Mean?
It is very possible that Mason Crosby is on-track to play in week 1, and Brian Gutekunst is exercising caution to keep his options open. Additionally, Crosby is entering his 17th season and won’t be kicking in Green Bay forever. Bringing in 4 additional kickers for workouts could be to get a head start on scouting for life after Mason Crosby. No matter where things stand, however, it is nerve-wracking to see uncertainty at such an important position this close to week 1. Additionally, Green Bay has a new long snapper and holder that Crosby will have had little time to work with.
The Packers special teams issues from last season were well-documented, and Rich Bisaccia was brought in to fix them. Crosby is obviously a very important piece, and has been a model of consistency throughout his career, so any absence that extends into the regular season would hinder the continuity and improvement of that unit as a whole. The optimist in me thinks he will be ready to go week 1, but today’s wave of workouts makes me a little uneasy.